Imperfect Progress

by Ray Reuter on March 22, 2013

I recently heard on the radio the phrase, “imperfect progress.”  Being a continuously improving perfectionist, that concept resonated with me.  I want to embrace the gift of imperfection plus the joy of progress.

I did a bit of research and discovered this phrase comes from the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.  Lysa defines “imperfect progress” as slow steps of progress wrapped in grace.

Just make progress!  Take a step forward … then another … then another.  And step forward “wrapped in grace.”  Grace for yourself, grace for others, grace for the situation.  God has plenty of grace to go around.  When I wrap myself in grace, my feet are more sure and my mind is more clear.  I am able to let go of specific outcomes or expectations, and focus on simply moving ahead … making progress.  And that is good enough.

It reminds me of the prayer titled “Patient Trust” by Teilhard de Chardin that emphasizes the slow work of God – sounds like “imperfect progress!”

          Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
              We are quite naturally impatient in everything

              to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something

     unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress

              that it is made by passing through

              some stages of instability—

              and that it may take a very long time.

         And so I think it is with you;
              your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,

              let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
              as though you could be today what time

              (that is to say, grace and circumstances

              acting on your own good will)

              will make of you tomorrow.

         Only God could say what this new spirit
              gradually forming within you will be.
         Give Our Lord the benefit of believing

              that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself

              in suspense and incomplete.

Unfettering does not mean perfect; yet it does imply progress.

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